Should I go to medical school abroad as an international student?

Should I go to medical school abroad as an international student?

Medical school is a very competitive process. If you are not prepared for the challenges that come with medical school as an international student, you may not be successful. In this article, we will discuss all you should know before embarking on your med school journey aboard. 

Advantages of Going to Medical School Abroad

Even though there may be many high learning curves to studying medicine abroad, going to medical school abroad can be a worthy investment. There are lots of young people who keep seeking admission to medical schools abroad. We will take a look at some of the advantages of going to medical school abroad. Some of the advantages are;

  • Going to a medical school abroad can be affordable contrary to popular opinion. You can try out state medical colleges abroad and you’d be surprised at what you find. There are several medical colleges abroad that are inexpensive. My neighbor is currently in a medical school in the United States and she was able to pay off her tuition without soliciting much help. Most public higher institutions, especially colleges, make schools affordable for people even if they are international students. You will most likely pay more as an international student than students from the country you want to study in but you will still not have to pay so much.

  • You will be open to more opportunities as an international student studying medicine abroad. There are so many options for you to choose from compared to if you are studying in your own country. This also depends on where you are coming from. If you are coming from a developing country, you will find more opportunities you never thought possible in more developed countries. Medical students who go to school abroad come back to their country with innovations and inventions. They bring back valuable knowledge that can drive growth in the medical sector.

  • You get the opportunity of building a global network in the medical space. There are equally students from other countries who are seeking opportunities to study abroad who you will meet there. You also have professors who are professionals in the field with who you can network to build global relevance. From constant interaction with other people, you can learn a different approach to life in general and live a better quality of life. Also, you never can who will be of help to you career-wise. You may not need them now but perhaps in the future. The most important thing is that you have built a connection with them and this can only be made possible by being in their space.

  • Most schools abroad welcome students with backgrounds in STEM such as medical students. They know that these are high-value fields and they are open to receiving students from other countries. As a result, they offer opportunities for you to find a job and work in the country. This means there is an opportunity for you to start a career in a new field. A colleague who finished high school with me and studied Medicine in the United States was able to get a job where she worked for two years before seeking an extension. She is currently working there and may have an opportunity to get a permanent residence there. This shows you can get a lifetime opportunity of residing in another country while doing what you love and contributing immensely to the growth of the country. 

  • Going to medical school abroad will help you develop a better perspective of issues in the medical sector. By experiencing a different healthcare system, you have a unique understanding of how different healthcare systems work. This is a viable knowledge that’s needed in the world today. You simply become indispensable no matter which part of the world you find yourself in.

Challenges International Students Face Studying Abroad

Studying abroad as an international student does not come without its challenges. Since you are studying in another man’s country, there will be harsh realities that you have to face.

I have some friends who talk about the difficulty they face in getting things done. From their daily struggle to fit in academically and socially to many other things, they sure need some grit to complete a degree abroad. Here are some challenges that international students face studying abroad;

  • The first and most common challenge is the language barrier. You will come across this if you are studying in a country whose language is different from yours. This can also be an issue even if you speak the same language. For instance, the way English is written and spoken in America may be different from yours. A Chinese student studying in the United States mentioned that she felt the barrier was more significant in speaking and listening than reading and writing as native speakers tend to speak less clearly than international students.

  • Cultural difference is another challenge that international students face when studying abroad. This is mostly why people from the same country tend to form a sort of group in and outside the classroom. You will often find people from the same country hanging out with each other due to this unavoidable challenge. There may be things that are normal to you which may be considered offensive if done or said abroad. You may also give different meanings to the same thing so it is possible that are not able to relate freely with students abroad.

  • The system of education may be different from yours. The way lectures or classes are being delivered may be different from what you are used to. Credits accumulation systems may also differ so you should find out and understand how the education system in the country abroad works so you can adjust appropriately.

  • You may be faced with lots of paperwork as an international student studying abroad. International students always have to do so much paperwork due to the process they have to go through with the embassy and the international center on campus. Someone who left Nigeria to study for their master’s in the United Kingdom mentioned how they had to spend the first few weeks sorting out paperwork before they got well settled to start receiving lectures.

The Cost of going to Medical School Abroad

It can cost a lot of money to go to medical school abroad especially if it is a private medical school or a medical school in one of the developed country. Most international students spend between $20,000 and up to $70,000 per year to go to medical school abroad. 

The cost also depends on the type of medical school you are going to. You will pay lesser if you are going to a state-owned medical school or a medical college as an international student since the fees have been subsidized by the government. 

Even though some medical schools are free, you will still have to buy books and research materials because they are not free. A 19-year-old Venezuelan student who is currently a medical student mentioned that the education is free but she has to spend a lot on books and materials required for her studies which are not free.

There are also no private medical schools in Venezuela so you may have to study abroad if you want to go to a private medical school.

Some medical schools are world-best and are sought after by most international students. Medical schools in the United States top the list of the world-best medical schools.

If you are looking to study in one of the top medical schools abroad, here is a list of some of them;

  • Harvard University: the medical school at Harvard University tops the list of the world-class medical schools in the world. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. It is well known for its standard of excellence producing more than 350,000 professionals in the world. Its annual medical school tuition fee is around $45,000 excluding other fees such as health services or health insurance. 

  • University of Oxford: it is the oldest English-speaking country in the world and it is also known for its consistent devotion to instilling excellence in its students. It is located in the United Kingdom and the tuition fee costs around $57,000 per year for international students. 

  • Stanford University: is located in California and is one of the best teaching and research institutes in the United States. It is one of the world-leading medical schools and it is dedicated to finding solutions to global issues and preparing world leaders. The tuition fee for Stanford School of Medicine is around $60,000.

  • University of Toronto: the university is also one of the top medical schools in the world. It is known for its multiple discoveries in the medical space. You will find the University of Toronto medical school in Toronto Canada. Its annual fee is about $92,000. It is one medical school you want to check out if you are looking to be a world-class medical professional. 


Going to medical school abroad does come with its challenges. However, it can be rewarding to scale through and get a medical degree abroad regardless of the difficulties or challenges that come with it. It is not an impossible feat to get a medical degree so if you desire this, you can take a bold step toward getting a medical degree abroad.